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Poltergeists, Cryptids & Ghosts, Oh My!

Explore the Legends & Lore of Cortland Curiosities

Just in time for Halloween, Cortland Curiosities has released an epic new trail with three terrifying tales of local legends and lore. Explore the darkest corners of the deepest woods where Cortland’s cryptid hunts, walk the shores of the inky lake under the pale moonlight listening for haunting screams and wander a forgotten cemetery in search of a lost grave. Ready for your next misadventure, curious travelers? Keep reading if you dare.

Cortland’s Cryptid: The Truxton Beast

Our first terrifying tale begins in the dark, forbidden forests of Truxton, NY. This monstrous tale opens on a balmy August evening in 1940 (though sightings date back much further). A curious cryptid was spotted by an unsuspecting berry picker who fled in panic, abandoning his berry basket. The screaming beast sightings continued, spanning a wide migration arc throughout the county. Despite multiple witnesses, none could seem to identify the creature. Describing it only by its shaggy hair, long claws and blood-curdling cries, locals still claim it roams the wilds between Truxton and Marathon. Some of the greatest hunters in the country attempted to track the beast and failed. Are you ready to hunt the Truxton beast?

Start planning your taboo trip by booking a stay at The Truxton Outpost’s Guesthouse. Not only will it put you in the heart of Cortland cryptoid county, but they offer a special Beast Box you can add on by request. It’s filled with all your Truxton Beast hunting essentials to ensure optimum creature stalking success. Once camp is established, visit the Cortland Curiosities interactive trail map to launch your cryptid-capturing adventure! Discover where and when the beast is most often sighted and read spine-tingling tales of encounters in these areas. Return to The Guesthouse in the evening to share spooky stories around the campfire over s’mores. Be sure to stop into the Outpost to stock up on campfire goodies and dinner fixings. The Guesthouse hosts two bedrooms with a queen-sized and full-sized bed and a double futon, ensuring plenty of space for your cryptid-hunting crew! Happy hunting!

The Poltergeist of Virgil Creek

There are many sounds that strike fear in the hearts of listeners: footsteps in a dark alley, moaning in the trees, and a child’s laughter when you are sure you are alone in the room. But, knocking? The excitement of a knocking guest quickly turns to terror when you realize this guest was uninvited. 

Here unfolds the petrifying tale of a place where the shadowy veil was so thin a poltergeist seething with rancor slipped through the divide. You may want to roll up your windows for this road trip, folks, lest you bring an uninvited guest home. The story unfolds during an unseasonably cool spring in 1866 when an unsuspecting family moved into their new home. Nestled in the hills of Virgil, along a gurgling creek, the bucolic scene turns sour not long after the Downey’s were settled. Unbeknownst to them, their new house was home to a permanent poltergeist. What began as dismissive acts of creaking doors and rattling pots rapidly escalated into a cacophony that could not be ignored. The homes paranormal inhabitant had a message, and he’s using knocking to share it. 

If you watched Ghost Busters one too many times as a youth and are ready to commune with the Virgil Creek Poltergeist, begin by booking your stay at Country Chic B&B. This unassuming, charming farmhouse stands atop a hill, directly overlooking where the most haunted house in Cortland County once stood. While nothing remains but cornfields, swaying hypnotically in the wind, some might argue that a restless spirit roams the hills. Country Chic B&B is deep in the hill county of Cortland County, and when the spectacular sunsets end, inky darkness descends upon the country estate, unlike anything you’ve experienced before. 

When you visit the Cortland Curiosities interactive trail map, you’ll discover the once forgotten cemetery is just next door. Are you brave enough to visit the old family graveyard before dusk to search for the lost remains of Cortland’s most persistent poltergeist? One knock for yes, two knocks for no. It’s said there is safety in numbers, and lucky for you, Country Chic B&B comfortably sleeps 6. And since they are dog-friendly, you can hop in the Mystery Machine and bring the entire Scooby-doo gang! 

The Legend of the Glen Haven Scream

Summer camp should be filled with memories of splashing in the water, making new friends and roasting hotdogs over a fire. However, on the southern shores of Skaneateles Lake, summer camp memories are imbued with dark tales of a legendary ghost who haunts the sheer cliffs along the lake, striking terror with its piercing scream.

Tales of the Glen Haven Screamer have been told for generations. Its first documented telling appears to be at Lourdes Camp on Ten Mile Point in the 70s. Although the legend is much, much older than that, as the fine folks who live, work, and vacation along the lake’s southern shores can attest. Who is this tortured soul, damned to cry out in agony under the coal-black sky of a new moon? Could it be the enchanting Miss Lillian Dumont, whose young life was tragically cut short, or the tormented “Crazy Kate” that the village children relentlessly taunted? Or, perhaps it isn’t a female phantasm at all but the spirit of Dr. William C. Thomas of the Glen Haven Sanatorium.

To unravel this torrid tale yourself, book a stay at the Glen Haven Hotel. Located directly across the lake from the infamous Glen Haven Sanatorium, it was a favorite stomping ground of the staff and guests, as the Sanatorium had a strict anti-alcohol policy. The Glen Haven Hotel continued to serve alcohol during prohibition, making this speakeasy popular with all sorts around the lake. However, be warned, the Glen Haven Hotel has a long history of hauntings beyond that of the Glen Haven Screamer. So, while the inn comfortably sleeps 8, you might just find there are a few more guests than you anticipated. 

When you visit the Cortland Curiosities interactive trail map, you’ll find you’re just a short, scenic walk from the Glen Haven Historical Society, a treasure trove for all things curious. You might also notice the Glen Haven Hotel is a stop along another trail. It just so happens this is where the lecherous Chester Gillett took his last date just before murdering poor Grace Brown. Popular among paranormal investigators, this haunted hotel is the perfect place to settle in with a cocktail on the porch at sunset and listen for the hair-raising song of the Glen Haven Screamer.